“Condición de intrascendencia”, Babu, Museo de Arte Moderno de Nueva York, MoMA, Museo MoMA Marzo 2010, Marina Abramovic, "The Artist is Present", crítica a Marina Abramovic, crítica independiente a Marina Abramovic, crítica a The Artist is Present, crítica independiente a The Artist is Present, crítica independiente a la producción del museo MoMA, crítica independiente al arte moderno, crítica independiente al arte moderno en New York, A condition of insignificante, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, MOMA museum March 2010, critique to Marina Abramovic, independent critique to Marina Abramovic, critique to Marina Abramovic’s "The Artist is Present", independent critique to Marina Abramovic’s "The Artist is Present", independent critique to modern art, independent critique to modern art in New York.
March 25, 2010, main atrium at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Marina Abramović delivers her performance “The Artist is Present”, which basically consists in her sitting in a chair across another 'performer', also sitting. They are separated by a table but both look at each other -no talking, no gestures, no nothing for more than 700 hours (this is, during museum hours).
This absurdity has been presented as a true artistic epic. Around them, the atmosphere shows nothing but approval. All around, eyes wide open and deep sighs suggest respect, acquiescence. A sympathetic, conspiratory silence is only interrupted by the photographers' clicks. Thus the scene evolves, live, for the realism to be complete . It is there, so, regardless of its dullness, there must be plenty of reasons. Motives are not really important, though. Magic has already enraptured the audience, the spell is consummated: art is asked for nothing, one just has to acknowledge it.
This is no minor event. It is the MOMA's most important exhibition during the months of March, April and May this year. What kind of explanation can be given for this piece of rubbish to be the most recognized and best advertised avant-garde piece of one of the most important museums in the world? Is it enough to just blame curators for their choice?
Perhaps there is something more interesting to unravel. Abramović is allegedly famous for her provocative attitude and constant search for extreme situations. This is why she is recognized. Her career is filled with brutal but also pretentious stories, which either do not add anything or just help to highlight the lowest aspects of human condition ("In the theatre you can cut yourself with a knife and there isn't blood, the knife is not real and the blood is not real; in performance the blood, and the knife, and the body of the performer is real", she says with conviction). Now, of course, as a good example of how dependent and grovelly an artist can be, everything is sponsored by Louis Vuitton, god forbid she runs out of money.
Were they not in the centre of the scene, they would not deserve much attention. But these extreme expressions inhabit the most exclusive marquees of the artistic offer. And the fact that they are not criticized -that, far from it, they are eagerly consumed- is quite significant. These kinds of creations produce a captivating, yet soporific effect. On the one hand, the attention they draw is disproportionate to their underlying message. On the other, they prove that real change is beyond the bounds of possibility, that in a world where people take their most important decisions amidst great collective numbness, art won't awake anyone.
We are living in a cultural ecosystem in which very complex processes of empathy and assimilation take place. Thus, the loyal applause such nonsensical objects appraised by so called 'specialists' are greeted with, is closely related to the inertia and lack of criticism in general, beyond art.
The great paradox about these phenomena may be that, while the expectation of visiting a museum lies in finding inspiration to understand and live our lives in a better way, silence and emptiness end up being the core of the message. This is all they have to say, however they are present, and their stories are the raw materials that build culture.
Still, the contrast between the artists' visible emptiness and this potentially stimulating present should be kept in sight. Our time deserves livelier stories, more attuned with an evolving world, which encourages us to think and act. Thus, given the mediocrity of art, the challenge remains less applause and more criticism.